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Remembering singer Hamida Banu

We take a look back at one of Hindi cinema's sidelined singers, Hamida Banu, on her 88th birth anniversary today (19 October).

Sonal Pandya

A contemporary of Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar in the early era of playback singing in Hindi cinema, singer Hamida Banu had many memorable songs in her repertoire like 'Kuch Bhi Na Kaha' from Parai Aag (1948) and 'Dono Hain Majboor Pyare' from Bikhare Moti (1951) with music composed by Ghulam Mohammed, a former assistant of Naushad. She also sang duets with fellow singers Suraiya in Main Kya Karoon (1945) and Geeta Dutt in Rajput (1951).

Hamida Banu was born on 19 October in Lahore and resettled in Mumbai (then Bombay) at an early age with her parents. She began playback singing for films by her teens and early on, she sang for Prithviraj Kapoor in his plays in Kolkata and at the recommendation of his son, Raj Kapoor, even acted in a handful of films. By age 26, she had collaborated with celebrated music directors like Naushad and Gyan Dutt.

Unfortunately, she couldn't break through in the competitive world of playback singing and faded away from public memory. Ironically, she last sang for music composer Robin Chatterji for the film Majboori (1954). The yesteryear singer returned back to the city of her birth, where she passed away on 9 November 2006.

Below are some of her hit songs: